MAAN lauds Bayer on efforts at revolutionising Maize sector in Africa

Bayer Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, Germany has been applauded by the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) for its efforts to increase productivity in the Maize sub-sector through its “Much More Maize” toolkit targeted at increasing maize yield for farmers across the country.

This commendation came from the President, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar Annur, during the just concluded 3rd edition of the Nigeria Maize Conference which was held virtually in Abuja recently.

In his presentation, Bello outlined the challenges facing the industry and the efforts of the Maize Association of Nigeria to tackle and overcome these challenges. He stated that maize production declined in 2020 from 12.6 million tons produced in 2019 to 12.4 million tons representing a 1.555% reduction due to rainfall deficit and low-level cultivation of improved and drought tolerant maize varieties.

According to him, the challenges facing maize productivity and the inadequate supply of certified seeds in Nigeria acted as a catalyst that spurred the birth of the Nigeria Maize Conference by Bayer Nigeria.

In tackling the challenges, he highlighted some of the achievements of the Maize Association of Nigeria which included the facilitation of access to mechanization, capacity building of its members on good agronomic practises and the empowerment of more than one million farmers through the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme.

Commenting on how maize productivity could be increased through good agronomic practises, the Market Development Regional Manager, Bayer Crop Science in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. David Wangila introduced Bayer’s integrated maize portfolio and hybrid seeds as solutions. He said the hybrid seeds had the yield potential of up to 10.9 tons per hectare and were also tolerant to striga, leaf diseases, Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) and the maize streak virus.

On his part, Mr. Joseph Kibaki, the Agronomic Operations Manager (East, West and Central Africa) Field Solutions for Bayer said whilst their seeds were tolerant to some of these viruses, it was also important to ensure proper seed treatment to protect the potential of valuable seeds. He specified how seed treatment could target some relevant pests and highlighted the importance of managing insect pests before they destroyed the maize yields and, weed control to ensure the weeds were not competing with the maize crop for scarce resources.

Kibaki stated that with proper implementation of the Much More Maize portfolio and good agronomic practises, farmers could see results in as little as four weeks with appreciable growth of their maize crops along with an increase in profitability.

The Director General of the National Agricultural Seed Council, Dr. Olusegun Ojo also emphasised the importance of seeds in the Agricultural revolution of a nation.

He stated that the development, production, and dissemination of Quality Seeds of Maize amongst others is central to providing adequate response to the many growing threats to food production from Climate change, increasing drought, pest and decreasing gains in productivity.

Dr. Ojo stated that “the growth of this sector would be hampered without a proper structured seed system to support the industry.” He went on to say that he was pleased with Bayer’s theme for this year’s edition of the Nigeria Maize Conference which was tagged “Much More Maize” as indeed, “Much More Maize” was needed to feed the needs of our increasing global population.

In his closing remarks, the Country Sales Manager, Bayer Nigeria Limited., Mr. Tope Banjo thanked the participants at the conference and expressed his hope that through good agronomic practises and proper usage of the Bayer Much More Maize toolkit, farmers across Nigeria would be able to increase their crop yield which in turn would translate to greater profitability and put Nigeria on the right path towards increasing food supply in the Nation.

The event featured major stakeholders, decision makers, business owners and farmers from across the maize value chain from organisations like the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) who was represented in person by the Director General, Dr. Olusegun Ojo to Dr Adeleke Mufutai who represented the Minister of Agriculture and many more.

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